A/N - Well ... this was interesting.

Annoying Jareth

59 & 60 - The Challenge

The Kingdom was alive with gossip about a magic piece of paper that had a "drawing" of the King. Explaining how photography worked was pointless. Besides, the Creature thought magic paper sounded awesome. It was annoyed that it was going to have to find new ways to besmirch the kings name, but it hadn't failed yet. Jareth was not as amused as the Creature was. He'd kicked it out of the castle, to much protest, and barred the door behind it. He ignored its pleas, giggles and even threats on his person if he didn't let it back in. However, he did hear it mention something about a challenge and finding someone more devious than him. He had to admit, he only listened because he was amazed the Creature knew words with more than one syllable. Not for the first time he considered just throwing the thing in an obelisk and being rid of it but he had no doubt it would find a way out; and probably release everyone on the way. There were quite a few people down there Jareth most definitely did not want to see again. By this point they probably wouldn't be too happy to see him either.

When dinner time came he wasn't surprised to find the Creature sitting at the table grinning like a Cheshire Cat. He used that reference lightly as it was far creepier and rather indescribable. "Didn't I kick you out?"

"I found someone more mischievous than you."

By this point Jareth had learnt it was best just to play along and ride out whatever psychotic plan the thing had conceived. "And who exactly would that be?" Oddly, he was rather curious.

"Loki". It's grin got wider.

"I see", he couldn't really argue with that, but he had no idea where this was going. Well,that wasn't entirely true. He had a fair idea but he refused to entertain it. Besides, there was no way the jotunn would agree to it. Oh how wrong he was.

"Yes, this young lady posed the challenge to me and I thought, why not?"

Jareth turned slowly to find Loki lounging in a nearby chair. His first thought was, 'when did he get there?' His second thought, 'Young lady?' His third thought, 'what fresh hell is this?'

Jareth cleared his throat, "And what challenge may this be?"

Loki grinned and the King was momentarily stunned that it looked more disturbing than the Creatures. "A test of skill of course, to see who is the better trickster."

"I see", Jareth said slowly, "May I ask a question?"

"Shoot"

"Why did you agree to this?" He looked briefly over his shoulder at the Creature, who had already forgot about both of them and was stuffing its face and drinking.

Loki chuckled at the sight. "Honestly? Pure boredom." He paused. "And I must admit I do find her mildly amusing. The gate keeper and I have enjoyed watching her antics." He distractedly waved a familiar looking piece of paper in his right hand. Jareth seethed, but quickly composed himself.

"Ah", Jareth rolled his eyes. "We'll, let the games begin then."

They both disappeared in a cloud of smoke. The Creature didn't even lift its head.

It started easily enough; a couple of little magic tricks here and there. Soon the goblins had become an army of vicious little monsters, the plants were carnivorous and some kind of aquatic beast now resided in the moat. It was becoming less clear who was summoning what and both the King and the Norse trickster were looking a little worse for wear. Jareth was ready to call a truce when a thought struck him. Out of all the ridiculous ideas the Creature had come up with, and generally forced him to acknowledge, this one gave him an advantage.

"Ready to admit defeat?" Loki called to him.

Jareth chuckled, "No, no I don't think so." Loki raised his hand. "However, I do believe I have a better way to test our power."

Loki paused, "I'm listening."

"Obviously we are unlikely to fall for each others tricks, so why not do what we do best and play with mortals?"

Loki considered the idea, "Any particular mortal you have in mind?"

The Kings grin was positively wicked, "Why yes, I believe I do."

The Creature jerked awake and shuddered. Something was coming; something it was not going to like. The kind of something that usually accompanied Jareths mother, but it was not that. Suddenly the room came to life. The table started bucking like a wild bull, dishes flying into the air. The many beer bottles, thankfully empty, started to dance in front of its eyes. The room started to quake and the roof started to collapse. The Creature blinked, slowly stood up and very carefully backed out of the room. It turned around to find the hallway melting. Very slowly walking into the mess it pulled a fresh beer from its many pockets. The bottle flew out of its hand and joined the others dancing. Jareth and Loki spotted the small vein start to pulse in its forehead.

"Yeah, I think its time I leave", Loki announced before very quickly disappearing.

Jareth sighed as the Creature screamed and started smashing anything that came near it. Then he quickly dropped it into an oubliette.